North Korea Envoy Threatens New ‘Nuclear Measures’

Global Security Newswire Staff
Global Security Newswire Staff
March 25, 2014, 8:06 a.m.

A seni­or North Korean dip­lo­mat on Monday warned that new “nuc­le­ar meas­ures” would be car­ried out if Wash­ing­ton doesn’t al­ter its policy to­ward Py­ongy­ang.

North Korean Deputy Am­bas­sad­or to the United Na­tions Ri Tong Il told re­port­ers his gov­ern­ment was pre­pared to provide an­oth­er dis­play of its atom­ic cap­ab­il­it­ies, the Yon­hap News Agency re­por­ted.

“We are ready to take a series of ad­di­tion­al nuc­le­ar meas­ures to demon­strate the power of the self-de­fens­ive nuc­le­ar de­terrent,” Ri said without spe­cify­ing what kind of ac­tions would take place. “I think you can wait and see later.”

Pre­vi­ous demon­stra­tions of Py­ongy­ang’s nuc­le­ar cap­ab­il­it­ies have in­cluded un­der­ground nuc­le­ar ex­plo­sions,  long-range bal­list­ic mis­sile tests and giv­ing for­eign ex­perts a tour of a pre­vi­ously un­declared urani­um-en­rich­ment fa­cil­ity.

North Korea last spring an­nounced it was ded­ic­at­ing more fa­cil­it­ies to pro­du­cing weapons-us­able nuc­le­ar ma­ter­i­al. In the months since, sur­veil­lance satel­lites have de­tec­ted sig­ni­fic­ant pro­gress in the con­struc­tion of a new light-wa­ter re­act­or, in the re­start­ing of a moth­balled graph­ite re­act­or and in the ex­pan­sion of the urani­um plant. However, a re­cent ex­pert im­age ana­lys­is of the coun­try’s atom­ic det­on­a­tion grounds and rock­et launch sites did not de­tect any signs that a new test was in the works.

Ri cri­ti­cized Wash­ing­ton for send­ing nuc­le­ar-cap­able bombers and atom­ic sub­mar­ines to par­ti­cip­ate in drills with South Korea at a time when Py­ongy­ang and Seoul were at­tempt­ing to im­prove bi­lat­er­al re­la­tions, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­por­ted.

So long as the United States main­tains “nuc­le­ar black­mail,” the North will con­tin­ue to un­der­take ac­tions that show off its de­terrent cap­ab­il­it­ies, he said.

Ri also con­demned the U.S. policy of “stra­tegic pa­tience,” which calls for re­frain­ing from ser­i­ous en­gage­ment un­til North Korea first demon­strates a com­mit­ment to de­nuc­lear­iz­a­tion.

Mean­while, U.S. Pres­id­ent Obama dis­cussed the North Korean nuc­le­ar im­passe with Chinese Pres­id­ent Xi Jin­ping dur­ing a brief meet­ing on the mar­gins of the 2014 Nuc­le­ar Se­cur­ity Sum­mit in The Hag­ue, Neth­er­lands, Yon­hap re­por­ted sep­ar­ately.

The U.S. lead­er ad­vised Xi against push­ing to re­in­vig­or­ate a frozen mul­tina­tion­al pro­cess fo­cused on North Korean de­nuc­lear­iz­a­tion if Py­ongy­ang did not first take spe­cif­ic steps to shut­ter its nuc­le­ar pro­gram, said Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy na­tion­al se­cur­ity ad­viser.

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